Blog Archive

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

McGladrey and the Haitian Relief Effort

Over the past couple of weeks, we have all been impacted and deeply touched by the vast devastation that resulted from the earthquake in Haiti. McGladrey has responded in a number of ways recently, at the national level, at the local level, and in direct support of one of the most highly visible relief charities.

At the national level, McGladrey made a donation to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, which is focusing not only on the immediate needs of the Haitian people, but on the long-term recovery and rebuilding efforts as well.

At the local level, our employees have been involved with everything from offering 'jeans days' to raise money for the American Red Cross and UNICEF, to packing food for Feed My Starving Children and donating shoes to Soles 4 Souls.

Within the past few days, McGladrey was selected by Wyclef Jean's Yéle Haiti Foundation to assist with the management and distribution of money collected for the Yéle Haiti Earthquake Fund, as well as overseeing the accounting and transactional aspects of the Fund.

McGladrey never seems to fail to answer the call when others are in need, whether locally or internationally. We encourage everyone to do what you can to support the Haitian relief efforts if you have not already done so. We will certainly continue to help as much as we can.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Shawshank Redemption - A Screenplay: Part 5

Hello, it’s Rachel, former Shawshank inmate, released and free. You’ll be relieved to hear that this screenplay is coming to an end. And I’m delighted to report it’s closing with a happy ending.
Stay tuned however for more posts (in a different format) about my CPA Exam preparation experience.

Scene Seven

Setting: Car
Music: “Get Ready” by the Temptations
Opening Scene: Rachel (singing, smiling, happy) driving back to school

Voice over, Rachel to self: Wow, it’s hard to believe but it was only a week ago that I was in this car on this same road. It seems like a lifetime ago. So, much has happened.

Rachel thinks about the events of the past week. She smiles sheepishly as she recalls her state of mind when she left school.

Voice over, Rachel to self: Talk about wound too tight? And Josh was right – I totally lost perspective. How did I let that happen? Sure, I was nervous about the exam – it’s intimidating. But I’m smart and I’m a hard worker. But I have a great prep plan and I’ve followed it. So what happened?

And suddenly, Rachel has an “aha” moment. A collage of memories flood her mind –
lunches, dinners, study sessions, conversations with friends – almost always about the CPA exam and how impossible it was.

Voice over, Rachel to self: Oh, my gosh. I totally fell for it. Somewhere along the way, I took on other people’s doubts and fears, even the irrational fears - to the point that the exam had become an almost nightmarish obsession.

Beaming, Rachel savors the clarity and wisdom of the moment.

Voice over, Rachel to self: Grad school was never my prison. I had imprisoned myself with misgivings and uncertainties. But no more. I’m free. And I’m ready to take the exam. Really, ready. Bring it on.

Laughing, Rachel turns up her ipod, singing along with her dad:

There must be peace and understanding sometime
Strong winds of promise that will blow away
All the doubt and fear
If I can dream of a warmer sun
Where hope keeps shining on everyone
Tell me why, oh why, oh why won’t that sun appear.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Shawshank Redemption - A Screenplay: Part 4

Hello, it’s Rachel. As you may recall from my last post, I had returned home for a family holiday celebration and hopefully, a reprieve from grad school stress. Before I continue, let me share a word of caution. Most families are ashamed of their crazy, eccentric relatives and do the sensible thing – they hide them. Not so in the South. We dress them up and proudly display them in our parlors. With that said, allow me to introduce my family:

· Dad: A handsome, strong and muscular man built like a Spartan warrior. A stern and formidable soldier. A mechanical genius and a human GPS. He also has an unbelievable voice.
· Mom: Executive speechwriter professionally, she also is an amazing homemaker. The quintessential mom, she is nurturing, loving, understanding and supportive.
· Josh: Handsome, intelligent, protective, funny and fun older brother. A creative and talented musician, he’s just signed a major recording contract.
Aunt Peg: Wealthy Southern dowager. Driven, tireless, self-made, millionaire businesswoman.
· Aunt Tina: Former beauty queen, her life revolves around her 2 popular and high-maintenance teenage daughters.
· Aunt Tandy: Intelligent, witty and fun. Stylish and fashionable, stays abreast of all the latest trends and celebrity news.
· Uncle Junior: A man’s man, he’s a hunter, fisherman, motorhead and WWII collector. A great storyteller with an endless supply of jokes.

Scene Six

Setting: Family room
Music: No music; sounds of football game
Opening Scene: 16 people sprawled in sofas and chairs, some napping, some watching football. Josh and Rachel huddled in corner.

Josh: So, how’s it going?
Rachel: Okay, I guess. I’m just really tired. And really stressed.
Josh: Well, you have a lot on your plate right now.
Rachel: Glad somebody realizes that.
Josh: What do you mean?
Rachel: No one gets it. I’m sick of everybody dismissing or downplaying how hard this is. I mean, really hard.
Josh: Who’s everybody?
Rachel: Friends, acquaintances, my own family. I mean, just look at today.

From Jay – “Oh don’t worry, I flunked my realtor exam twice. You’ll do just fine.” Really, Jay – like they’re comparable.

And from Tina – “I told you sweetie, accounting is for ugly or dull people. It’ll probably be a blessing if you don’t pass.” Seriously, a blessing?

Oh, and Tandy’s remark, “I can totally relate Rach. I attended intensive training for 2 months to learn how to spot a Louis Vuitton counterfeit.” Really, a fake purse?

But the best came from Aunt Peg – “So who dies if you don’t pass? Really Rachel, don’t be such a whiny box. I have an army of accountants and they’re all dull and boring. If they passed, so can you. You’re brilliant. Now, get me a glass of tea.”

And oh, yeah, can’t forget Uncle Junior and his stupid jokes: “When does a person become an accountant? When he realizes he doesn’t have the charisma to become an undertaker. Why did the accountant cross the road? To bore the people on the other side.” I mean, how many accountant jokes does a person know?

Josh: Okay, Rach, hold on. You’re getting all worked up over nothing.
Rachel: Really, Josh, over nothing. Thanks for trivializing my life and dreams.
Josh: Now, hold on. That’s not what I’m doing. I’m saying that okay, things are hard. Well, guess what, life is hard sometimes.
Rachel: Yeah, like things are ever hard for you.
Josh: Life is hard - at times, for everyone. Look around you. Don’t be so quick to judge people as clueless or uncaring. Look beyond the smiles. Everybody here has gone through some terrible times. Times that make your current situation almost laughable.
Rachel: Laughable? There you go again, marginalizing my problems.
Josh: No, I’m not. I’m talking about keeping things in perspective. Look around you. Take Tandy. Ernie’s been unemployed for 5 years now. She’s gone from the luxurious life of an executive’s wife to working 40 hours a week in retail. She’s gone from a mansion to a rental. Instead of buying designer purses, she’s now selling them. And take Peg.
Rachel (groaning): I’d rather not.
Josh: Well, don’t be too hard on her. In the past year, she’s lost her businesses – which have been her whole life. Bad,huh? Well, probably nothing compared to finding her husband dead in the driveway, a suicide victim. And she’s starting over at 59 with nothing and no one. Talk about hard.
Rachel (mortified): I’m sorry, you’re right. How selfish of me.
Josh: You’re not selfish. You just got caught up in your stuff. We all do that. And while you need to focus on your goals, don’t forget about perspective. Step outside your head, you world occasionally. And when you feel overwhelmed with the present and with the future, then look to your past. Don’t forget where you came from. You are the daughter of a high-school dropout who’s performed for the King of Morocco. You are the daughter of a woman born in poverty whose speeches are heard on the world stage.
Rachel (smiling): And the sister of a rock star.
Josh (grinning): Exactly. So remember, we don’t do easy. We tackle life head-on and we do our best. And if, at times, our best isn’t good enough, we don’t hang our heads in shame. We don’t give in to self-pity and we don’t break. We lift our chins, strengthen our resolve and we try again…and again…until we get what we want.
Rachel (smiling): Okay, enough. I get it. You can stop. (Rachel laughing now) You sound like a cross between Barack Obama and Braveheart.
Josh: Hey, Rach, whatever it takes. You were pretty far gone. (Josh walking out of the room) And just for the record, chasing the rock n’ roll dream ain’t no walk in the park.

Voice over, Narrarator: Rachel is feeling like this trip home was therapeutic after all. The stress of the fall semester has been replaced by the grounding and reality that only her family could provide. Check back tomorrow as Rachel completes her journey home and returns to prepare for the spring semester and the continuation of her CPA exam preparation.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Shawshank Redemption - A Screenplay: Part 3

Hello and Happy New Year from a brand-new Rachel. I’m happy and relieved to report that the panicked, frantic, frazzled and overwhelmed Rachel (see last blog post) has been replaced by a wiser, calmer and more serene - though still overwhelmed - Rachel. The reason for this amazing transformation – you might ask? No, I didn’t drop out of school. And no, there are no tropical islands, no alcohol, no pharmaceuticals. Rather, it seems that my instinct to return home served me well. If grad school is my prison, my Shawshank, then home is my ‘Shawshank Redemption’.

My Shawshank Redemption - A Screenplay

Scene Five

Setting: Home
Music: “Green Green Grass of Home”
Opening Scene: Rachel pulls into her driveway, parks and sighs, relieved to be home. As she opens her car door, she hears her aunt, uncle and 2 teenaged cousins arguing in the front yard. It sounded like the same old argument over cell phones and Facebook.
As Rachel closes her car door, all four pause the bickering to wave and greet her.

Aunt Tina, Uncle Stanly, Taylor and Hunter (in unison): Hi Rachel! Welcome home!
Rachel (smiling, teasing): Hello family! I see things haven’t changed much. But hey, you guys need to keep it down – this is a respectable neighborhood.

The front door opens.

Voice over, Rachel to self: What?
Rachel pauses, frowns, blinks and stares as a 6”4’ Predator creature emerges, crouches and swings his hideous, dread-locked head wildly from side-to-side. She doesn’t recognize her 39-year old art-teacher cousin until he speaks.

Jay (laughing): Hi ya Rach. Guess you didn’t recognize me?
Rachel (laughing): What are you doing Jay?
Jay: Just dropped by for your dad to help me with my blades – couldn’t get ‘em to retract.
Rachel: Where did you get this costume? And why are you wearing it?
Jay: I made it. And I’m going to scare my kids.
Rachel: Wow, it looks awesome. But honestly, don’t you think you might terrify first-graders?
Jay (smiling): That’s the idea – call it payback. I’ve been up to my knees in runny-noses and mucous for the past 2 months. But, what’s up with you?

Her reply is interrupted by another bizarre sight – a skinny, long-haired young man jumping the picket fence, drumsticks in one hand, calling her name. It’s Tom - her neighbor, childhood best friend and the drummer in her brother’s band.

Voice over, Rachel to self: Seriously, this is where I came for sanctuary and sanity?
Tom (grinning and hugging Rachel): Rachie, finally - it’s about time. How’s it going? Are you a real accountant yet? You need to speed it up if you want to be the number cruncher for the biggest, best looking band on the planet?
Rachel: Oh, do you know them?
Tom (grinning): Hey, I’m just quoting “Q.”
Rachel (frowning): Q?
Tom (exasperated): Yeah, the music magazine. You know the British Rolling Stone. What’s happened to you? Are you studying too much? I told you it wasn’t healthy.
Josh (smiling) approaches and hugs Rachel: Rach, remember what your big brother told you about musicians – keep your distance – and never look to them for advice. Especially drummers.

Laughing together, Josh, Rachel and Tom walk into house. Rachel pauses and takes a deep breath – loving the smell of home.

Dad (loud and exuberant) grabs and hugs Rachel, lifting her off the floor: A sight for sore eyes! My baby girl is home!
Mom (smiling) cradles Rachel face in her hands: Welcome home beautiful girl. You look a little pale. Are you okay? Do you want to talk?
Rachel: I’m fine Mom – really. Just tired. We can talk after dinner.
Mom (smiling): Okay, well, let’s go eat. Everyone is here and can’t wait to see you, my little darling.

Dad bursts into song - a rousing Elvis version of Little Darlin – Little darlin’, oh, oh, little darlin’
Josh quickly joins in with “yi-eye-eye-eye, ya-ya-ya-ahh” with Tom playing his drumsticks all the way down the hall.

Voice over, Rachel to self: Okay, brace yourself. The gang’s all here.

Voice over, Narrarator: Why does Rachel need to brace herself? Exactly, what or who is “the gang”? Find out tomorrow as Rachel’s visit home continues...

Friday, January 15, 2010

McGladrey Recognized by as Top Finance Intern Employer

The accolades for McGladrey's Internship program keep coming. In addition to being recognized by CollegeGrad and Business Week, this week included McGladrey on their list of Top 10 Finance Internships.

According to Vault, their editors " the Top 10 internships from a pool of hundreds that represent career opportunities and a chance for students to flex their professional muscles. Putting themselves in the shoes of students and young professionals, editors ranked internships based on a criteria they felt mattered most—pay and perks, on-the-job training, unique experiences and resume radiance."

We thank Vault for this honor and the further affirmation that McGladrey offers one of the best internship programs around!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Work-Life Flexibility and the Right Expectations

***Today's post comes to us from Teresa Hopke, Sr. Director of Talent Management at McGladrey and our in-house work-life flexibility guru. Teresa shares her thoughts below on what work-life flexibility really means at McGladrey and for our employees. Teresa is now taking advantage of some of our work-life benefits herself as we are all celebrating the recent birth of her new baby boy!***

Here we are, that time of year where flexibility becomes the life saver that helps keep our busy employees afloat as they juggle the many competing demands of their work lives and their home lives. We are also entering the time of year where we as a business have the highest client demand and expectations from our employees. So how can a company with such high expectations where employees are expected to work unthinkable workloads week after week espouse to be a "flexible" organization? It’s all about setting up the right expectations around a culture of flexibility.

At McGladrey I can confidently say that we have indeed created a culture of WorkLife Flexibility that works for our business and our employees. What is important about that statement is to understand what’s behind the words flexibility and WorkLife – what they do and do not mean to us as a firm. Flexibility to us is not about balance. We know that life is never an exact 50/50 split between work and personal priorities and we would never expect it to be. It is about integrating the many facets of one’s life to make things work the best they can at any given point in time. Sometimes that will mean we need to give more to work and sometimes that means we will need to give more to our personal priorities. Most often though it does not mean that we will juggle both equally and for most of us that is OK.

Flexibility also does not necessarily mean working less. The great news is that when we asked our employees what flexibility means to them they told us they same thing – they don’t expect to work less. What they do think flexibility means is having more control over where, when and how they do their work – both formally and informally. Pretty reasonable request right? When flexibility becomes viewed as a way to give employees more control over their personal and professional lives and a strategic tool for doing so while still meeting business needs, then some of the typical fear and anxiety that the term often carries along with it begin to fade away. Additionally, a culture of WorkLife Flexibility includes more than just flexible ways of working. It is about creating support mechanisms for that meet our employees’ needs as they differ throughout different times of the year and throughout different life stages of the employee. So while it may not work well for some employees to work a flexible schedule during busy season, those employees may find great value in utilizing our Extended Care Cash, Coach-on-Call or Concierge programs to help them have more control over their lives. And in the end a little more control is all most of us are really looking for to help us feel like we are succeeding.

So in short, we’ve created a culture at McGladrey where flexibility isn’t something to be feared by managers or longed for by employees, it is a way of working that allows our employees to achieve the personal and professional success they desire. To us, flexibility isn't an accommodation or gift we give our employees to make them feel better. It is a business tool that we use to ensure that we are empowering our employees to meet the needs of their clients in a way that benefits the firm, the employee and the client. We have clear expectations around how flexibility should work that we communicate through our Declaration of Flexibility and expect that it is set up as a two-way street where both employees and the firm can achieve great results as a by-product of living a culture of flexibility. We are proud to empower our employees and contribute to their success by making it part of the fabric of our business model at McGladrey and an integral part of who we are.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A McGladrey Holiday Party Alternative

First of all, a Happy New Year to all of you. May 2010 be a great year for everyone!

We would like to start of the year at Success starts here with a great story about the true meaning of the holiday season. Last month, the Mid Atlantic offices of McGladrey (comprised of 6 offices throughout Maryland and Virginia), decided to forgo the annual holiday party, and instead, give back to the community. Nearly 300 employees participated in several community service events, donating a total of $40,000 (included donations from partners and employees and a $10,000 match from the City of Baltimore) and volunteer resources to local food banks and distribution centers with the aim of trying to ease hunger. The Maryland Food Bank, Capital Area Food Bank, Central Virginia Food Bank and Frederick (MD) Rescue Mission were all beneficiaries.

According to Winston M., Manager from our Richmond, VA office:

"Our team of 37 helpers got the job done quickly and efficiently, with a palpable element of fun. Partners sorted cans with new hires, tax and audit worked side-by-side, and many laughs were shared throughout the afternoon. We sorted through 6 enormous boxes of food donations collected from around the Richmond area, and ensured that agencies coming to collect food for needy families would find everything they need. While some of us sorted through can goods and boxes, others were recruited to the kitchen to prepare meals.

At the end of our 2-hour shift, everyone agreed that it had been a rewarding, teambuilding experience. Whether we are serving clients, or serving in the community, McGladrey employees are always willing to give 100%. We are grateful for the opportunity to help our neighbors during the Holidays."
This was just another in a line of great community service activities that McGladrey employees participated in throughout 2009. Thanks to all those who participated, our communities were certainly appreciative and better for it.